This is an easy recipe for How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns. Enjoyed for Easter on Good Friday, these buns will have your mouth watering as you smell them baking in the oven. With spices like cinnamon, all-spice and ginger just the aroma of these buns baking will have you eagerly waiting them. Studded with currants, these buns are best warm out of the oven served simply with butter.

Hot cross buns on a baking tray

This is the same great recipe that I first published in 2014, with updated pictures and a step-by-step video.

A closeup of a hot cross bun on a board with Easter eggs

If there was ever a food that reminds me of Easter as a child, it’s the hot cross bun. Traditionally eaten in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada for breakfast on Good Friday.

In fact, all kids growing up in England are made aware of the Easter nursery rhyme about these buns that was published in London in 1798. 

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.

One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

A hot cross bun cut open on a plate with butter and a knife

We all know good food takes time, so there’s a little kneading involved and a little rising, the buns, not you. The dough is kneaded after mixing and then left to rise.

After the first rise, the dough is kneaded again, shaped into buns and risen for the second time. Before they are baked a cross is made across the top of the buns. This is a paste of flour, sugar and water  is piped into the cuts so when the buns are baked the cross is visible.

Tips for working with yeast

  • Make sure your yeast is fresh. If it is not, it will not activate.
  • The water for the yeast must be around 105– 115 °F (40 – 46°C) warm enough to feel comfortable on your skin to not under activate or kill the yeast.  A thermometer can help with this. 
Hot cross buns warm and shiny

How long do hot cross buns keep?

They are best eaten the day they are made. Any that I don’t eat, I keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Beyond that, I freeze them up to 3 months. To reheat, wrap the frozen buns in foil and bake at 350°F/ 177°C for 15-20  minutes.

If you’ve tried these Traditional Hot Cross Buns or any other recipe on the blog, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!

More Easter Recipes:

Easter Chocolate Creme Eggs

Chocolate creme eggs in an Easter basket filled with hay

Yield: 12 buns

How to Make Traditional Hot Cross Buns

12 hot cross buns on a baking sheet fresh out of the oven

Hot cross buns are a spiced, slightly sweet bun with currants, raisins or sultanas.

Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


  • 1 cup (236 ml) milk, warmed to 100– 110 °F (38 - 43°C)
  • 2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups + 2 tablespoons (525 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup (150 grams) dried currants or raisins
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs beaten, room temperature
  • To make the cross:
  • ⅓ cup (46 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Hot water


  1. Stir the yeast and sugar into the milk. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes (maybe more) until to start to see it bubble.
  2. To a mixing bowl add the flour, salt and spices and currants or raisins, mix well. Make a well in the center of the flour mix, add the milk and yeast, butter and eggs. Use a spatula to mix and the dough together, then use your hands to make the dough to a large ball. It will be sticky. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 mins to rise. The oven turned off is a good place.
  3. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes. Divide the dough into 12 balls and shape each into a bun. Place close together on baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and cover loosely with a towel.  Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  4. To prepare the day before: Make the dough (stop after step 2) then refrigerate overnight, covered. When you're ready to bake, bring the dough to room temperature and continue with step 3.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F /200°C.
  6. For the crosses:
  7. Mix the ⅓ cup flour and sugar. Mix well and add enough hot water to create a thick paste. Add to a ziptop bag, remove the air and seal. Cut a little off the corner off the ziptop bag and pipe a cross on top of each bun. You can also use a piping bag.
    No need to score the dough, the crosses melt into the the buns as they bake.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown (time will depend on your oven).
  9. For the glaze:
    Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl with 1 tablespoon warm water and stir until syrupy. Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the glaze while still warm. Cool on a wire rack.
  10. To store the buns, keep in an air tight container for up to 4 days. If you find the buns getting too firm, I like to microwave them (one at a time) for about 20 seconds, this will soften them up and also make them nice and warm.


*105– 115 °F (40 - 46°C) warm enough to feel comfortable on your skin

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 bun

Amount Per Serving Calories 229Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 46mgSodium 192mgCarbohydrates 39gFiber 2gSugar 18gProtein 5g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.